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- QCTl 9 1950- 
MAY 3 1 1951 

t"2.5 2iJii^ 


Tercentenary of 'Don Quixote' 
Cervantes in England 

By James Fitzmaurice-Kelly 

[Frojn the Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol II] 


Published for the British Academy 

By Henry Frowde, Oxford University Press Warehouse 

Amen Corner, E.C. 

Price One Shilling net 




Read January S5, 1905 
In Commemoration of the Tercentenary of 'Don Quixote' 

Lord Re ay. Your Excellencies, and Gentlemen : — 

My first duty is to express to the Council and to the members 
of the British Academy my thanks for the distinguished honour 
which they have done me in inviting me to address them on this 
occasion of high international interest; and my second duty is to 
deliver to you. Lord Beay, a message from your learned brethren 
who form the Royal Academy of Spain, As a member of that 
ancient and illustrious body, desirous of associating itself with your 
proceedings to-day, it falls to me to act as its spokesman, and to con- 
vey to you its fraternal greetings as well as its grateful recognition 
of the prompt enthusiasm which has impelled you to take the lead in 
honouring the most famous literary genius that Spain can boast. 
You have met together here to do homage to one of the great men 
of the world, and to commemorate the publication of the book with 
which he endowed mankind just three hundred years ago. It is 
in strict accordance with historic tradition that you, as the official 
representatives of British culture, should be the first learned body in 
Europe to celebrate this tercentenary, and I propose to show that, 
since the first decade of the seventeenth century, this country has 
been foremost in paying tribute to an amazing masterpiece. The 
work has survived, no doubt, by virtue of its intrinsic and trans- 
cendent merits ; but, like every other creation, it has had to struggle 
for existence, and it is gratifying to us to remember that British 
insight, British appreciation, British scholarship, and British muni- 
ficence have contributed towards the speedier recognition of 
Cervantes's genius. I will ask your permission, my Lord, to 
demonstrate this restricted thesis instead of taking you and your 
colleagues through the labyrinth of sesthetic criticism for which 
the subtle ingenuity of three centuries is responsible. But it may 



not be out of place to begin with a few words concerning the author 
of Don Quixote and the circumstances in which his romance was 

Many alleged incidents in his picturesque career have afforded 
subjects to poets and dramatists and painters ; but these are exercises 
in the domain of imagination, and the briefest summary of ascertained 
facts will be more to my purpose. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 
was bom at AlcaU de Henares in 1647. The son of a humble 
apothecary-surgeon, without a university degree, and constantly 
wandering from town to town in search of patients, Cervantes cannot 
well have received a systematic education; but we really know 
nothing of his youth except that, at some date previous to 1569, he 
composed copies of mediocre verses dedicated to Philip the Second's 
wife, Isabel de Valois. He is next heard of as chamberlain to the 
future Cardinal Acquaviva at Rome ; thence he passed into the army, 
fought under Don John of Austria at Lepanto (where he received 
the wound in his left hand which was to be a source of greater pride 
to him than any of his writings), shared in the Navarino and Tunis 
campaigns, and, after five years of service, set sail for Spain to seek 
promotion. He was captured by Moorish pirates on September 26, 
1575, and was carried into Algiers, where his heroic conduct won 
him — not only the admiration of his fellow prisoners, but — ^the 
respect of his taskmasters. After nearly five years of slavery in 
Algiers, during which period he wrote verses (some of which have 
been preserved), he was ransomed on September 19, 1580, returned to 
Spain, was apparently employed in Portugal, married at the end 
of 1584, and in the following year published the First Part of an 
artificial and ambitious pastoral romance. La Galatea. At this time 
he was writing numerous plays which, so he tells us, won popular 
favour; evidently they were not so successful as their author 
imagined in his retrospect, for in 1587 Cervantes sought and found 
less congenial occupation in collecting provisions for the Invincible 
Armada. It was ill-paid work, but it gave him bread, while 
literature and the drama did not. This is his first association 
with England, and it was no fault of his if the equipment of the 
Armada was not complete, for he perquisitioned with such tem- 
pestuous zeal as to incur a threat of excommunication from the 
ecclesiastics whose stores he seized. He remained in the public 
service as collector of revenues, not greatly to his own satisfaction 
(to judge by his application for one of four posts vacant in America), 
and not altogether to the satisfaction of his official superiors (to judge 
from the fact that he was imprisoned at Seville in 1597 for irregu- 


larities in his accounts). He was soon releasetj, but apparently was 
not reinstated. We cannot wonder at this : he h£l4 not the talent 
for routine. 

The next six or seven years must have been the dreariest period of 
Cervantes's life. He lingered on in Seville, to all seeming ruined 
beyond hope. But he was not embittered : ex forti dukedo. The 
alchemy of his genius was now free to work, free to transmute 
his personal misfortunes into ore more precious than that which f 
the Spanish argosies brought from the mines of Potosi. In the | 
Triana and other poor quarters of Seville, he heid daily oppor- 1 
tunities of studying the originals of Gines de Pasamonte and of | 
Binconete and Cortadillo, two diverting picaroons who perhaps came | 
into existence before Sancho Panza; and in Seville, from 1597 to 
1603, he had time to compare the dreams of life with its realities. 
All unconsciously he had undergone an admirable preparation for 
the task which lay before him. The vicissitudes of his troubled 
existence constituted an inexhaustible intellectual capital. To any 
ordinary eye they might seem a collection of unmanageable dross, r> , 
but the man of genius wields a divining-rod which leads him through ''-^{ 
the dusk to the spot where the hidden treasure lies; and so it ■..'> 
happened with Cervaijtes. In the course of his long rides, collecting .^ 
the King's taxes, he had observed the personages whom he has "i 
presented so vividly as to make them real to each of us three - 
hundred years afterwards. It is the paramount faculty of imaginative ' 
creation to force us to see through the medium of its transfiguring o- 
vision, and we have the privilege of knowing Spain in -Cervantes's 
transcription of it. We accompany him in those journeys across 
baking plains and sterile mountains and we meet the characters with "; 
whom he was familiar. We cannot doubt that he had encountered 
innkeepers who could cap a quotation from an ancient ballad, and who ,^ 
delighted in the incredible adventures of Cirongilio of Thrace or of ts 
Felixmarte of Hircania ; demure Toledan silk-mercers on the road to 4*' 
Murcia, with their sunshades up to protect them against the heat ; "i 
barbers who preferred Galaor to his more famous brobher Amadis of j^ 
Gaul, and who were pleased to have Ariosto on their shelves even cT 
though they could not read him ; Benedictine monks peering through ^- 
their travelling spectacles from the backs of mules as tall as drome- 
daries; canons far better acquainted with the romances of chivalry 
than with Villalpando's treatise on logic ; amorous and noble youths 
from Aragdn, disguised as muleteers; and perhaps a poor old- 
fashioned gentleman who in some solitary hamlet pored and pored 
over tales of chivalrous deeds till he persuaded himself that he 


was born to tepeat these exploits and to restofe the golden age 
^that happy time when maleficent giants were neatly divided at 
the waist by knights whose hearts were pure, and who themselves 
avoided similar inconveniences by timely recoursis to Fierabras's 
inestimable balsam, two drops of which joined to a nicety the 
severed halves of a bisected paladin. 

The time was coming when these casual acquaintances, embellished 
by the sunniest humour and most inrbane irony, were to find place in 
Cervantes's rich portrait-gallery and were to be his glory as well as 
our delight. While he was giving artistic form to his reminiscences 
as chamberlain, soldier, slave, poet, romancer, dramatist, tax-gatherer, 
and broken wanderer, his knowledge of life was continually extending. 
The Treasury was constantly upon his track. What actually took 
place is somewhat obscure : Cervantes was (probably) imprisoned once 
more in 1598 and (almost certainly) again in 1601-2. It may have 
been in Seville jail that he began to write what he describes as a story 
' full of thoughts of all sorts aud such as never came into any other 
imagination — ^just what might be begotten in a prison, where every 
misery is lodged and every doleful sound makes its dwelling.' What 
is certain is that early in 1603 he was ordered to appear before the 
Exchequer Court there to produce his vouchers and explain his 
confused accounts. It was the most fortunate thing that could have 
happened to him. We may be tolerably sure tiiat the loose book- 
keeping which had perplexed the Treasury clerks for years was not 
made clear in an instant, and that Cervantes's examination was pro- 
longed over a considerable period ; and it seems likely that, on one of 
his journeys to and fro between Seville and Valladolid, he disposed 
of a manuscript which had passed through many hands before it 
found a publisher. This was the manuscript of Don Quixote. 

The internal evidence of the book shows that Cervantes began 
hesitatingly and tentatively, intending to write a comparatively 
short story about a simple-hearted country-gentleman, mooning his 
yeare away in some secluded hamlet till his craze for chivalrous 
adventures led him into absurd situations which invited description 
in a spirit of broad farce. The opening words of the sixth chapter 
_\^ — El qual dormia — are awkwardly carried on from the fifth chapter, 
^ and they go to show that no division of material was originally 
contemplated. Moreover, we may say with some confidence that 
the existence of the accomplished Sancho Panza is the result of 
an afterthought; the idea probably occurred to Cervantes just 
after penning the innkeeper's statement that knights were commonly 
attended by squires. And it is curious to remark that the author 


fails at first to visualize tHe figure of Sancho Panza; he falters 
in the attempt to draw the short, ventripotent rustic, and as late 
as the ninth chapter describes him as tall and long-shanked. 
A long-shanked Sancho ! One would have said that such a being 
was inconceivable had not his creator first seen him in that strange 

The writer's prima ry_aim.„was_ta. ,paJody_aL.jcIags_of literature 
which, though.,.na. longer so much appreciated at jcourt as^Jn^the 
days of Juan jk VaJdra, or at ji^^ to 

call Cafilornia after the griffin-haunted island in Las Sergas de 
Esplandian, still had its admirers in the provinces ; and the_garQdy 
is wholly admirable. But a mere parodist, as such, courts and 
even condemns himself to oblivion, and, almost necessarily, the 
more complete his success, the sooner he is forgotten by all save 
students : the3edss-jdiich_j3£_iadku^^ 

dies with them. The very fact that Don Quixote survives is proof 
that It outgrew the author's intention. Cervantes himself informs 
us that his book is, 'from beginning to end, an attack upon the 
romances of chivalry,' and we have no reason to justify us in rejecting 
this statement. Still we must interpret it in relation to other 
matters. Cer vantes can never hav e meant to dpstj^y, sf;t,.fj[ct;llfipt 
an_exarnpl,e of-tJie fftudql prasg ^piff ns jijOSr^^^drjGmdai a long 
romance which he must have known almost by heart : for in the 
twentieth chapter he draws attention to the minute circumstance that 
the taciturn Gasabel, the squire of Galaor, ' is only named once in the 
whole of that history, as long as it is truthful.' And no man charges 
his memory with precise details of what he considers a mass of 
grotesque extravagances, of egotistical folly, and vapouring rant. 
The extravagances, the folly, and the rant which disfigure the 
works of such writers as Feliciano de Silva are destroyed for ever. 
What was sound and wholesome in the tales of chivalry is preserved 
in Don Quixote : preserved, illuminated, and ennobled by a puissant 
imagination playing upon a marvellously rich experience. 

The Manchegan madman has his delusions, but he is deluded A 
on one point only : in all other respects he touches the realities J utdi-t (y/ 
of life and he remains a perpetual model of conduct, dignified in (. c/ * Q 
disaster, magnanimous in victory, keen in perception, subtle in I 
argument, wise in counsel. With him goes, as a foil to heroism, \ 
Sancho Panza, that embodiment of calculating cowardice, malicious i 
humour, and prosaic common sense. This association of the man 
abounding in ideas with the slower-witted, vulgar, practical person, 
vaguely recalls the partnership of Peisthetairos and Euelpides ; and 


Aristophanes himself has no happier touch than that which exhibits 
Sancho Panza, aware that his mastef is too mad to be depended 
on in any other matter, but yet convinced that he may certainly 
be trusted to provide the unnamed nebulous island which the 
shrewd, droll villager feels a statesmanlike vocation to govern. 
Can we wonder that the appearance of this enchanting pair was 
hailed with delight when the history of their sallies was published 
at Madrid early in 1605 ? We know that it was 'the book of the 
year,' that within some six months there were pirated editions in 
Portugal, a second edition in Madrid, a provincial edition at Valencia, 
and that by June people ih Valladolid spoke of the adventurous knight 
and his squire as though both were proverbial characters. Other 
contemporary novels— 'Guzm&n de Alfarache, for instances-may 
have had a larger circulation ; but the picaroon GuzmAn was (by 
comparison) merely the comet of a season, while the renown of the 
Ingenious Gentleman is more universal to-day than it has ever been. 
His fame soon spread beyond the Pyrenees, and in 1607 a Brussels 
publisher reprinted the original to meet the demands of the Spaniards 
in the Low Countries. The book was thus brought within reach 
of readers in the north of Europe, and they lost no time in profiting 
by their opportunity. There are signs of Dmi Quixote in France 
as early as 1608, but we may neglect them to-day, more especially 
as there are still earlier traces of the book in this country. 

We read of Richard Coeur-de-Lion helping to defend Santarem 
agaitist the Moors, of the Black Prince's battles in Spain, of two 
or three thousand English pilgrims yearly visiting the shrine of 
Santiago de Compostela. But the literary connexion between 
the Peninsula and England was slight. Early in the fifteenth 
century Clemente Sdnchez de Vercial translated Odo of Cheriton's 
Narraiiones under the title of El libra de los gatos ; the Speculum 
Laicorum, an adaptation of Odo of Cheriton's work commonly ascribed 
to John Hoveden, was translated into Spanish at about the same 
period; then too GoWer's Confessio Amantis was translated into 
Portuguese by Robert Payne, Canon of Lisbon, and, later, into Spanish 
by Juan de Cuenca ; and the distinguished poet Francisco Imperial 
introduces English words into his verses. These few examples 
imply no great acquaintance with English literature, and we 
may say that there was practically no knowledge of Spanish 
literature in Fngland till the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
when, in the year following the publication of Jmadfs de Gauh, 
Henry the Eighth married Catharine of Aragdn. Spanish scholars 
visited Lblidon Mid Oxford, and though, its iii the eftsfe of 


Vives, they may have censured some of the most popular Spanish 
books of the time, intercourse with them must naturally have 
awakened interest in the literature of their country. The results 
were seen in Lord Berners's renderings of works by Fernandez de San 
Pedro and Guevara, and Guevara found other translators in the 
persons of Bryan, North, Fenton, and Hellowes. Santillana was done 
into English by Bamabe Googe, who had already given versions 
of poems by Montemor, Boscdn, and Garcilaso de la Vega ; Abraham 
Fraunce quoted the two latter poets in The Arcadian Rhetorike, 
Sidney versified songs by Montemor, and there are translations of 
such devout writers as Luis de Granada. With histories, technical 
works and the like, I am not concerned here. It is more to our 
purpose to note that Amadis de Gaula was translated by Anthony 
Munday in 1589-95, and that it pleased readers to identify Gaula 
with Wales and to discover in the romance places so familiar to them 
as London, Windsor, and Bristol. Part of an earlier version by 
Lord Lennox exists in manuscript. 

The ground was thus prepared for Cervantes, and the new parody 
of knight-errantry was certain to charm those who regretted that 
Chaucer's tale of Sir Thopas had been so brusquely interrupted. 
In the very year that the Brussels edition made Don Quixote 
more easily available a translation of the book was begun by 
Thomas Shelton, finished in forty days, and then laid aside for four 
or five years ; and that there were other more or less attentive readers 
of Don Quixote is shown by many passages in contemporary authors — 
passages which have been collected by investigators like Emil 
Koeppel. George Wilkins, though possibly responsible for the 
rough sketches elaborated by a far greater artist into Timon of 
Athens and Pericles, is not precisely a writer of impressive indepen- 
dence and originality : rather, indeed, is he one whose eyes are con- 
stantly on the weathercock, watching the direction of the popular 
breeze. It is therefore all the more significant that in the third act 
of The Miseries of Inforst Marriage, a play ^ven in 1607, Wilkins 
should make the tipsy braggart William Scarborow say : — 

Boy, bear tlie torch fair : now am I armed to fight with a windmill, and to 
take the wall of an emperor. 

' To fight with a windmill ! ' The expression betrays its source ; 
it would be unmeaning to any one unacquainted with the eighth 
chapter in which Cervantes describes Don Quixote's terrible adven- 
ture with the giants whom the wizard Friston had transformed into 
windmills upon the plain leading to Puerto Lapice. Wilkins was 


not the man to write above the heads of his audiences, and he clearly 
believed that they would catch the point of the allusion. The 
experiment was evidently successful, for, in the following year, 
Middleton repeated it in the fourth act of Your Fair Gallants, 
presenting Pyamont exasperated at the loss of his forty pounds 
and furiously declaring: — 

I could fight with a windmill now. 
A year or two passes and (probably about 1610) Ben Jonson in the 
fourth act of 7%e Epicene causes Truewit to address Sir Dauphine 
Eugenie in these terms : — 

You must leave to live in ];our chamber, then, a month together upon 
Amadis de Gaul, or Don Quixote, as ^ou are wont. 

Manifestly the knight's reputation was made, for within three years 
he took rank as the equal of his great predecessor, Amadis de Gaula, 
whose penance on the Pena Pobre (a locality which has been identified 
with the island of Jersey) he had imitated with such gusto on 
the Sierra Morena. That the reference was seized by the public 
is plain from its repetition next year by the same dramatist in the 
fourth act of The Alchemist, where Kastril vilifies Drugger as 

a pimp and a trig. 
And an Amadis de Gaul, or a Don Quixote. 

To about this date (1611) is assigned the composition of Fletcher's 
Coxcomb and Nathaniel Field's Amends for Ladies, which are both 
based upon the story of the Curious Impertinent interpolated in 
Chapters XXXIII-XXXV of Don Quixote. You may perhaps re- 
member that Lothario compares Anselmo's wife, Camila, to ' a diamond 
of the first water, whose excellence and purity had satisfied all the 
lapidaries that had seen it.' Field preserves the simile in one of the 
speeches allotted to Sir John Love-all : — 

To the unskilful owner's eyes alike 
The Bristow sparkles as the diamond. 
But by a lapidary the truth is found. 

This same episode of the Curious Impertinent, which Lessing and 
other critics have found tedious, furnished the theme of The Second 
Maid's Tragedy, a play variously ascribed to Goughe, to Chapman, 
to Shakespeare, and — with more probability — to Massinger and 
Tourneur : and here again the simile of the virtuous woman and the 
diamond is reproduced. Shelton's translation was printed in 1612, 
and was speedily followed by a very frank adaptation of Don Quixote 
in 7%e Knight of the Burning Pestle. Fletcher makes no attempt to 
disguise the source of his piece: but it is amusing to observe his 


anxiety to assure his public that he knows Spanish too well to need 
Shelton's rendering, and that in fact his play had been completed 
a year before the prose version was published. In 1613 Robert 
Anton closes his Moriomachia with a reference to 'Mambrinoes 
inchaunted helmet ' ; and both the knight and the squire are men- 
tioned later in Drayton's Nimphidia. 

This record is not meagre ; but, since the ascription to Shake- 
speare of The Second Maid's Tragedy is no longer maintained by 
any competent scholar, one mighty name is missing from the bede- 
roU. Did Shakespeare know Don Quixote? The question is con- 
stantly asked, and the usual answer is that he could not have 
read the book because he knew no Spanish. I am reminded 
of the advice given to a newly appointed judge whose knowledge 
of law was rusty : — ' Give your decision and it may be right ; never 
give your reasons, for they are sure to be wrong.' I do not dwell on 
the passage in Much Ado About Nothing which recalls LazariUo de 
Tormes, nor on the points of resemblance between Montemor's Diana 
and the Two Gentlemen of Verona : they do not necessarily imply 
a knowledge of Spanish. But it is certain that Shakespeare might 
easily have known Don Quixote without knowing Spanish, for Shelton's 
version was in print four years before Shakespeare died. Apart 
from this, however, the longer one lives the more chary one becomes 
of committing oneself to absolute statements as to what Shakespeare 
did, or did not, know. He may not have been an expert in Spanish : 
probably he was not. But he seems to have known enough to 
read a collection of dull stories published at Pampluna in 1609, 
and at Antwerp in 1610. This volume, never translated (so far as is 
known) into any other language, is the JVbcAe* delnviemo of Antonio 
de Eslava, and the title of A Winter's Tale is obviously taken from 
the title of the Spanish book. This, if it stood alone, might be 
explained away as an instance of unconscious reminiscence. How- 
ever, as we have lately learned — from Dr. Gamett, amongst others — 
Shakespeare's debt to Spain goes much beyond the mere borrowing 
of a title : for, from the fourth chapter of the Primera Noche de 
Invierno comes the plot of The Tempest, Prospero of Milan and his 
daughter Miranda being substituted for Dardano of Bulgaria and 
his daughter Serafina, All things considered, perhaps we should not 
dismiss too cavalierly a belated entry in the register of the Stationers' 
Company : ' TTie History of Cardenio by Mr. Fletcher and Shake- 
speare, 20«.' The lateness of the date (1653) deprives this entry 
of authority, and, as the play has vanished, it is impossible to discuss 
the question of its attribution ; but we may plausibly conjecture that 

Q 3 


Shakespeare, or some younger contemporary, found material for yet 
another drama in the story told to Don Quixote by the tattered, 
distraught Andalusian gentleman whom he met wandering near the 
Venta de Cdrdenas on the northern slope of the Sierra Morena. 

Meanwhile, though the presses of Spain, Italy, and the Low 
Countries continued to issue reprints of the original in 1608, 1610, 
and 1611 respectively, the author was in no haste to publish the 
continuation mentioned at the end of the First Part. There we are 
told that an academician of Argamasilla had succeeded in deciphering 
certain parchments containing Castilian verses, ' and that he means to 
publish them in hopes of Don Quixote's third sally.' The promise 
is vague, and, such as it is, the pious aspiration is perhaps neutralized 
by a final ambiguous verse from the Orlcmdo fwriaso : — 

Forse altri cantera con miglior plettro. 

These concluding sentences have given rise to so much controversy 
that I shall be justified in dwelling upon them for a moment. If we 
consider the text and the quotation from Ariosto together, the 
passage may be taken to mean that any one who chose was welcome 
to continue the story, or it may be construed as an announcement of 
Cervantes's intention to publish a sequel himself. Now, in view 
of what happened afterwards, the significance of these phrases may 
seem obvious; but we are not entitled to interpret them solely in 
the light of subsequent events. The questions for us to answer are 
two : what did Cervantes intend to convey when he wrote the passage ? 
and what interpretation might his contemporaries fairly put upon it ? 
If he meant that any other writer was free to publish a continuation 
of Don Quixote, he had no cause for complaint when he was taken 
at his word. If he meant that he himself would issue the sequel, 
it is unfortunate that he did not say so with his customary plainness, 
and strange that he delayed so long in following up his triumph. 

It was not till 1613, more than eight years after the appearance 
of the First Part, that he publicly announced the sequel as forth- 
coming. Any honourable man who was already engaged upon 
a continuation would have laid his work aside and left the original 
author in possession of the field. Unluckily the idea of continuing 
Don Quixote had occurred to an unscrupulous writer. It is no easy 
task to be just, in this matter, to Cervantes and to his competitor ; for, 
while Cervantes is, so to say, the personal friend of each man amongst 
us, his obscure rival has contrived to lose the respect of the whole 
world. But it is our duty to attempt it. In the first place, then, 
let us bear in mind that Cervantes was often almost as optimistic as 


Don Quixote ; the conception of a book flashed into his brain, and 
he looked upon the composition as a mere detail. In this very 
prologue which announces the Second Part of Don Quixote, Cervantes 
announces two other books : Los Trdbc0os de Persiles y Sigismumda, 
which appeared posthumously, and Las Semanas del Jardm, which 
never appeared at all. Elsewhere he promises works to be entitled, 
El Engano a las ojos and Bernardo, and these never appeared either. 
During thirty-one years, on five separate occasions, he promised the 
sequel to La Galatea, and that also never appeared. It has been 
argued that, in announcing the sequel to Don Quixote, Cervantes is 
fairly categorical; he promises it 'shortly' {con brevedad). He 
undoubtedly does ; but the words are of evil omen, for he used the 
same formula when he first promised the continuation of La Galatea. 
In the second place, we cannot infer (as we might in the case of 
a punctilious precisian who weighed his words carefully) that the 
Second Part of Don Quixote was nearly completed when Cervantes 
referred to it in the preface to his Novelas exemplares, which was 
licensed on July 2, 1612. Far from it ! He may not have written 
even a chapter of it at that date ; he had not written half of it on 
July 20, 1614, the memorable day on which the newly fledged 
Governor, Sancho Panza, dictated his letter to his wife Teresa. It 
foUows that, if Cervantes worked at anything like a uniform rate of 
speed, he cannot have begun the sequel till about January, 1614!. 

These circumstances, more or less attenuating, should be taken 
into consideration before passing sentence on Alonso Fernandez de 
Avellaneda, who, in 161 4<, brought out a spurious continuation of 
Don Quixote, a clever, coarse performance, which, especially in Le 
Sage's expanded version, has often been mistaken — by Pope, for 
instance, in the Essay on Criticism — for the authentic sfequel. 
Avellaneda had a fair, or at least a plausible, case ; but he com- 
pletely ruined it by the ribaldry of his preface, in which he jeers 
at Cervantes's misfortunes and alleged defects of character — his 
mutilation, his imprisonment, his poverty, his stammer, his jealousy, 
his lack of friends. These brutalities wounded Cervantes to the 
soul, and led him to conclude the Second Part of Don Quixote in all 
haste. Thus, quite unintentionally, the insolent railer probably 
saved the book from the fate which befell the sequel to La Galatea, 
and the other works already mentioned. Avellaneda deserves our 
ironical congratulations : he meant murder, but committed suicide. 

Within a year of his intrusion the genuine continuation of Don 
Quixote was published, and it amply disproved the truth of Sanson 
Carrasco's remark : ' Second Parts are never good.' Goethe and 


Hallam preferred the First Part, and unquestionably the Second is 
but a splendid development of what preceded it. Coleridge draws 
a characteristic distinction: 'Who can have courage to attempt 
a reversal of the judgement of all criticism against continuations ? 
Let us except Don Quixote, however, although the Second Part of 
that transcendent work is not exactly uno fiatv, with the original 
conception.' The First Part is the more humorous and fantastic, 
the Second Part is the more ingenious and artistic ; but nobody has ever 
contended that this Second Part was 'not good,' with the single 
exception of Lamb, who was betrayed into this freakish outburst : 
' Marry, when somebody persuaded Cervantes that he meant only fun, 
and put him upon writing that unfortunate Second Part, with the 
confederacies of that unworthy Duke and most contemptible Duchess, 
Cervantes sacrificed his instinct to his understanding.' 'Sacrificed 
his instinct to his understanding ! ' It may amount to a confession 
of ineptitude, but I confess I am not nearly so sure as I could wish to 
be that I catch the precise meaning of this expression, and I prefer not 
to take it too seriously. It occurs in a letter addressed to Southey, 
and perhaps not even the most judicial of us would care to abide 
by every word let fall in the careless freedom of private corre- 
spondence. At any rate posterity has not accepted Lamb's emphatic 
verdict. Nor did the writer's contemporaries and immediate suc- 
cessors find anything but praise for the story of Don Quixote's later 

Cervantes lived just long enough to witness his triumph, and he 
needed all the solace that it could give him. Old and infirm, he was 
eclipsed in popular favour by the more dazzling and versatile genius 
of Lope de Vega, then in the meridian of his glory. We must 
distinguish between fame and popularity. Famous Cervantes was 
both in and out of Spain ; he was not, like Lope, the idol of his 
countrymen. The greatest of all Spaniards, in life more than in death, 
Cervantes's appeal was rather universal than national. He had 
survived most of his own generation, lived into a less heroic time, 
and, though he was no philosopher or sociologist, perhaps viewed 
with some misgivings the new society which had replaced the age 
of chivalry. 

He look'd on the rushing decay 

Of the times which had shelter'd his youth — 

Felt the dissolving throes 

Of a social order he loved — 

Outlived his brethren, his peers ; 

And, like the Theban seer. 

Died in his enemies' day. 


He died, in fact, on April 23, 1616 — nominally on the same day 
as Shakespeare, and we ask for nothing better than to be allowed to 
forget the difference between the calendars of Spain and England, 
and, adapting Homer, to say that in both countries the sun perished 
out of heaven at the same hour. 

Before long the Second Part of Don Quivote reached England 
in the Brussels edition of 1616. Probably the earliest trace of it 
occurs about 1619 in the fifth act of The Double Marriage, where 
Fletcher and Massinger introduce a scene between the courtier 
Castruccio and the doctor which is unmistakably modelled after 
the account in the forty-seventh chapter of Pedro Recio de Agiiero's 
attempt to deprive Sancho Panza of his dinner. In 1620 the sequel 
to Don Quixote was brought directly before the English public 
in Shelton's translation, and in this same year Thomas May, in 
the first act of Tfie Heir, after making Clarimont refer to 'the 
unjust disdain of the lady Dulcina del Toboso,' describes Amadis de 
Gaula and Don Quixote as ' brave men whom neither enchantments, 
giants, windmills, nor flocks of sheep, could vanquish.' This, of 
course, is from the First Part ; but in 1620 Fletcher inserted one detail 
from the Second Part in TTie Pilgrim, and, in 1623, the second act of 
Massinger's play TTie Duke of Milan reveals Mariana taunting her 
sister-in-law Marcelia with suffering from an issue : a reminiscence of 
the scandal about the Duchess confided to Don Quixote's reluctant 
ear by Dona Rodriguez in the forty-eighth chapter of the Second 

In the third decade of the seventeenth century writers in search of 
a theme sought it oftener in the Novelas exemplares than in Don 
Quixote. For instance, in 1621-2 Middleton and Rowley based The 
Spanish Gipsie on La Gitanilla and La Fuerza de la Sangre. A more 
assiduous follower of Cervantes was Fletcher, who in 1619 derived 
The Queen of Corinth from La Fuerza de la Samgre ; in 1621, 
collaborating with Massinger, Fletcher based A Very Woman on 
El Amante liberal; in 1622 he inserted in The Beggars' Bv^h 
some touches from La Gitanilla ; in 1623, perhaps aided once 
more by Massinger, he produced Love's Pilgrimage from Las 
dos Doncellas; in 1624 El Casamiento enganoso yielded him Rule 
a Wife and have a Wife; in 1625-6 he transformed La Ilustre 
Fregona into The Fair Maid of the Inn ; in 1628 he went afield 
to take The Custom of the Country from Cervantes's posthumous 
romance, Los Traibqjos de Persiks y Sigismimda; but he returned 
later to the Novelas exemplares and dramatized La Senora Cornelia 
as The Chances. A still more convincing proof of English interest 


concerning Cervantes's writings is afforded by the fact that Massinger 
in 1624 wrote The Renegade in view of the set drama entitled Los 
Banos de Jrgel, and The Fatal Dowry in 1632 showed a knowledge 
of the entremis entitled El Viejo celoso. It was comparatively easy 
for Fletcher to read the Novelas exemplares in the Brussels edition 
of 1614 ; but, as the volume of plays issued by Cervantes in 1615 
was not reprinted till 1749, it is evident that Massinger must have 
taken the trouble to procure a copy of the Madrid princeps—a. 
difficult matter at that date. 

This fashion ran its course, as you may read in the Master of 
Peterhouse's admirable History of English Dramatic Literature ; and, 
in due time, English writers went back to Don Quixote. In 1630 
Davenant printed The Cruell Brother, borrowing from Cervantes the 
name of one personage and the characteristics of another : — 

Lothario ; a Country Gentleman 
But now the Court Bahoone, who persuades himselfe 
(Out of a new kind of madness) to be 
The Duke's favourite. He comes. Th' other is 
A bundle of proverbs, whom he seduc'd 
From the plough, to serve him for preferment. 

In 1635 an allusion to the ' good knight of the ill favor'd Counten- 
ance' is used to ornament the third act of The Lady Mother by 
Henry Glapthome, a dramatist of no great repute, whose Wit 
in a Constable, published four years afterwards, contains Clare's 
intimidating question to Sir Timothy Shallowwit : — 

Is it you. 
Sir Knight of the ill favor'd face. 
That would have me for your Dulcinea? 

In 1640 appeared James Mabbe's fragmentary version of the 
Novelas exemplares which Godwin esteemed as 'perhaps the most 
perfect specimen of prose in the English language.' It is enough to 
call it admirable. But let me say frankly that I have two grudges 
against Mabbe : one because he omits six of the novels, perhaps the 
best in the collection : the other because, though he resided in 
Madrid from 1611 to 1613 as a member of Digby's mission, he 
apparently took no trouble to meet Cervantes and gives us no 
information concerning him. Surely this is one of those rare cases 
in which all but the most austere of men would welcome a little 
'personal' journalism. 

' I have almost forgot my Spanish, but after a little may recover 
it,' says Riches in Shirley's masque A Contention for Hsmcmr and 


Rkhes, which dates from 1632 ; and perhaps Riches here speaks for 
the modest author. However that may be, Shirley knew enough 
Spanish to utilize Tirso de Molina in his Opportunity and Lope de 
Vega in The Yoimg Admiral; hence it is not surprising that, when 
recasting his masque in 1652 under the title oiHonoria and Mammon, 
he should introduce the ' forehead of Dulcinea of Toboso ' into the 
fifth act. The Doubk Falsehood, based on Cardenio's story and 
ascribed by Lewis Theobald to Shakespeare, has been conjecturally 
attributed to Shirley ; but this is doubtful. During the Protectorate 
the only contribution specially interesting to the student of Cervantes 
is the curious, festive commentary by Gayton whose Pleasant Notes 
upon Don Quixote are still well worth reading. The Restoration 
was barely accomplished when in 1663 Butler launched the first 
part of Hudibra^, a witty, pointed, violent lampoon written in imita- 
tion of Cervantes, but with blustering humour and rancorous jibes 
substituted for the serene grace and bland satire of the master. 
In 1671 Aphra Behn's play The Amorous Prince showed how much 
that was objectionable could be infused into the story of the Curious 
Impertinent, but Aphra Behn was outdone in 1694 and 1696 by 
D'Urfey whose Comical History of Don Quixote provoked Collier's 
famous Short View of the Immorality amd Profaneness of the English 
Stage. It is one of life's ironies that this fulminating protest should 
have been called forth by a work professedly derived from Cervantes 
who justly prided himself on the morality of his writings. 

D'Urfey was left to bear the burden of his sins : Cervantes's vogue 
in England continued unchecked. Temple proclaimed Don Quixote 
to be, as satire, 'the best and highest strain that ever has been, 
or will be, reached by that vein.' Spence tells us that Orford's 
inquiry whether Rowe knew Spanish led the latter to study the 
language, perhaps in the hope that it might lead to the Embassy at 
Madrid. Having mastered Spanish, Rowe announced the fact to 
Orford who drily said : ' Then, sir, I envy you the pleasure of reading 
Don Quixote in the original.' And no doubt Rowe did read it, suid 
hence a line in The Fair Penitent which use has converted into 

a tag : — 

Is this that haughty gallant, gay Lothario ? 

Addison gave a somewhat lukewarm allegiance to Cervantes in 

TTis Whig Examiner (No, 3) and in The Guardian (No. 135), as well 

as in The Spectator (Nos. 227 and 249), linking Don Quixote with 

Hudibras, and talking (not very acutely) of ' mean Persons in the 

Accoutrements of Heroes.' Steele did better when he promoted 

• the accomplish'd Spaniard ' to be patron of the Set of Sighers 


in the University of Oxford. In 1719 Arbuthnot unsuccessfnlly., 
attempted to imitate Don Quixote in his short Life and Adventvnres 
of Don Bilioso de TEstomac, Some biographers of Swift suggest 
that A Tdk of a Tvb is modelled upon Don Quixote ; I see no trace 
of direct imitation, and nothing could be further apart than the 
Englishman's splenetic gloom and the Spaniard's delicate charm, but 
I admit that the unadorned diction and sustained irony of Swifb 
recalls one of Cervantes's many manners. 

A passage in the Chwracteristicks of the third Earl of Shaftesbury 
is worth quoting: — 'Had I been a Spanish Cervantes and, with 
success equal to that comick Author, had destroyed the reigning 
taste of Gothic or Moorish Chivalry, I could afterwards contentedly 
have seen my burlesque itself despised and set aside.' This utterance 
is interesting, for it implies that in 1703 Cervantes was still considered 
to be essentially a ' comick Author.' But a reference in The Dtmciad 
to ' Cervantes's serious air ' shows that Pope had a truer insight into 
the significance of a book which, as I have already said, he began by 
reading in Le Sage's amplification of Avellaneda. Henceforward, 
Cervantes becomes less and less regarded as a purely 'comick Author.' 
As far back as 1730 Fielding in the second act of The Coffee-House 
Politiciam declared that ' the greatest .part of Mankind labour under 
one delirium or another, and Don Quixote differed from the rest, 
not in Madness, but the species of it.' Fielding's play Don Quixote 
in England dates from 1734 and, poor as it is, it is a tribute to 
a great predecessor, a tribute paid more abundantly eight years later 
in the History and Adventwres of Joseph Andrews where Parson 
Adams appears as an unmistakable descendant of Don Quixote's. 
The Female Quixote, an imitation by Charlotte Lennox which was 
published in 1752, is praised by Fielding in the Journal of a 
Voyage to Lisbon, and was lauded by Samuel Johnson, who thought 
that Cervantes's book had no superior but the Iliad. Sterne ranked 
Cervantes even above his other favourite, Rabelais, but we should have 
guessed this without Sterne's personal assurance, for page after page 
of Tristram Shandy is redolent of Don Quixote. Though the title of 
The Adventures of Sir Laivtweht Greaves proves that Smollett had the 
Spanish book in view, the imitation is wholly unworthy of the model, 
and in The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker the resemblance which 
we are told existed between Lieutenant Lismahago and the Knight 
of La Mancha is merely physical. Smollett's imitative fiction is 
comparatively a failure but, as I shall show in an instant, he was 
a warm admirer of Don Quixote, and did Cervantes good service in 
another field. To that field I shall now turn, for The Spiritual 


Quixote of Richard Graves, published in 1773, and similar pro- 
ductions of this period have lost whatever interest they may once 
have had. 

During the eighteenth century there were numerous attempts in 
England to promote the serious study of Cervantes's works by means 
which cannot fail to interest a learned audience. We have seen that 
the earliest translation of the First Pari of Don Quixote was pub- 
lished at London in 1612 by Shelton : Shelton's version of both 
parts was reprinted in 1731, and was also issued in a revised form 
by Captain John Stevens in 1700 and 1706. In 1687, Milton's 
nephew, John Philips, had published a miserable travesty of the 
original, and in 1700 the French refugee, Peter Motteux, brought 
out a readable version, which is based on Shelton's rendering, and 
checked by constant comparison with the French translation of 
Filleau de Saint-Martin. Motteux' version, which included the 
earliest biographical sketch of Cervantes, is still reprinted, less on 
accojint of its own merits than because of the excellent preface which 
Lockhart wrote for it in 1822. But it was felt that these publica- 
tions were unworthy of English scholarship. As Shelton was the 
first man to translate Don Quixote, so a London publisher, Jacob 
Tonson, was the first to produce a handsome edition of the original, 
which put to shame the sorry reprints issued in Spain and elsewhere. 
Tonson's edition, published in 1738, was based upon the Brussels re- 
impressions of 1607 and 1611, was revised by Pedro de Pineda, and 
was preceded by the first formal biography of Cervantes ever issued. 
This life was written by the most eminent Spanish scholar of the age, 
Gregorio MayAns y Siscar, who received the commission from the 
English ex-Secretary of State, Lord Carteret. In 1742 the painter, 
Charles Jervas, published a new rendering of Don Quixote, in some 
important respects an advance on previous versions. Spence records 
Pope's perfidious remark that his friend Jervas 'translated Don 
Quixote without understanding Spanish.' The charge is absurd: 
Jervas's knowledge of Spanish is beyond cavil. His English style 
is thought inadequate by critics, and his rendering is neglected by 
his later rivals; but innumerable cheap reproductions prove that 
it satisfies a multitude of less exacting readers. Jervas's version 
was likewise of great service to Smollett who utilized it extensively 
when engaged upon the translation which he issued in 1755 ; and the 
preface to this translation is exceptionally interesting, for here Smollett 
pointed out, six years before the point had occurred to any Spaniard, 
that the prisoner Cervantes, mentioned as a native of AlcaU de Henares 
in Diego de Haedo's Topografia e Historia de Argel, must be the 


author of Don Quixote. This detail, which was also made public at 
about the same time by Colonel Windham, practically settled the 
dispute as to Cervantes's birthplace. A far more valuable contri- 
bution to students of Cervantes was the first commentary on 
Don Quixote ever published : this was issued in 1781 by John Bowie, 
vicar of Idmiston, who has done more to elucidate Cervantes's master- 
piece than any other commentator, with the possible exception of 
Clemencin. Envy and detraction did their worst in Barretti's 
venomous Tolondron; but in vain, for all the world over 'Don 
Bowie,'' as his friends affectionately called him, is held in honour by 
every student of Spanish literature. 

With the last century we reach ground familiar to all. It would 
be an endless and superfluous task to trace the allusions to 
Cervantes's great book in English literature of the nineteenth 
century. Byron tells us in Don Juan that Adeline, like Rowe, 

studied Spanish 
To read Don Quixote in the original, 
A pleasure before which all others vanish. 

And her example was widely followed. Yet we may take it as certaia 
that imperfect translations suggested the characters of Sam Weller, 
that Cockney variant of Sancho Panza, and of Colonel Thomas 
Newcome. 'They call him Don Quixote in India,' said General 
Sir Thomas de Boots, ' I suppose you have read Don Quixote ? ' ' Never 
heard of it, upon my word,' replied Barnes Newcome, whose only 
contribution to literature was a Lecture on the Poetry of the Affections. 
But Hazlitt had heard of Don Quixote, and Southey, Scott, Lockhart, 
Macaulay, and FitzGerald knew the original well. Macaulay 
esteemed it 'the best novel in the world, beyond all comparison,' 
and found it even ' prodigiously superior to what I had imagined,' 
while to FitzGerald it became ' the Book.' I believe that it is included 
in the Bibliotheque Positiviste, and that Comte placed Cervantes 
himself in the Positivist Calendar. We have not yet made Cervantes 
our national saint, but no one has written more delightfully of him than 
that distinguished Positivist, Mr. Frederic Harrison ; and the gi-eatest 
of our romance writers, Mr. George Meredith, celebrates with enthusiasm 
Cervantes's 'loftiest moods of humour, fusing the tragic sentiment 
with the comic narrative.' The publication of three new and in- 
dependent versions by Duffield, Ormsby, and Watts, in 1881, 1885, 
and 1888 respectively, is convincing proof of our unabated interest in 
Don Quixote. Two large quarto volumes — quorum pars parva fui — 
containing the first critical edition of the original appeared at the 


very end of the nineteenth century, and, if they indicate nothing 
else, at least imply a boundless belief in the future of ^the Book'; and 
the only satisfactory rendering of the Novelas exemplares, due to 
Mr. Norman MacCoU whom death has so recently snatched from us, 
figures in a translation of Cervantes's Complete Works which was 
begun in the first year of the twentieth century. 

This brings my prolix exposition to a close. I have laid before 
you a body of facts to justify the assertions with which I began. 
I have shown that England was the first foreign country to men- 
tion Don Quixote, the first to translate the book, the first country in 
Europe to present it decently garbed in its native tongue, the first 
to indicate the birthplace of the author, the first to provide a bio- 
graphy of him, the first to publish a commentary on Don Quixote, 
and the first to issue a critical edition of the text. I have shown that 
during three centuries English literature teems with significant allu- 
sions to the creations of Cervantes's genius, that the greatest English 
novelists are among his disciples, and that English poets, dramatists, 
scholars, critics, agreed upon nothing else, are unanimous and fervent 
in their admiration of him. ' There is an everlasting undercurrent 
of murmur about his name, the deep consent of all great men that 
he is greater than they.' That, Lord Reay, is my case : it is for you 
and your colleagues in the British Academy to judge if I have 
proved it. 

,/■■' ;■ ''Qxford .,■• ;;/ -\'--: I 
Printed by Horace H&rt, '"it iW pUkttsity Press 

Cornell University Library 
PQ 6353.F55 

Cervantes in Enaland. 

3 1924 027 679 962